STORMWIND — Resurrection (review)

STORMWIND — Resurrection album cover Album · 2000 · Neoclassical metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Stormwind are guitarist Thomas Wolf’s brainchild and Resurrection is their fourth album, released in 2000 via Massacre Records. Started as an AOR / hard rock outfit, the band slowly but steadily transitioned towards the neoclassical power metal genre, gaining accolades among fans of bands like Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Stratovarius. Resurrection is firmly rooted in the neoclassical power metal camp, although the band’s early AOR influences do surface from time to time, especially in the hyper-melodic choruses of the songs.

It’s an interesting, if not terribly original, formula that Stormwind use well throughout the nine tracks of the record. The album ticks all the right boxes for appealing to neoclassical power metal fans. The songs alternate between fast up-tempo material and majestic, epic mid-tempos. There is the obligatory power ballad (the excellent “Seven Seas”) and we even have an instrumental guitar suite in three parts (“Synphonia Millennialis”) that moves with ease between acoustic and electric sections. All tracks feature plenty of baroque yet muscular guitar riffs as well as exciting duels between guitars and keyboards. The level of technical proficiency is high. Thomas Wolf is a skilled guitarist and his solos are always interesting and exciting. Keyboard player Kaspar Dahlqvist is a more than adequate sparring partner for Wolf’s solos, and the duels between guitars and keyboards are always one of the most interesting parts of every song. Thomas Vikström’s (ex-Candlemass, Therion) vocals rip and soar, showcasing all his talent. Meanwhile, Patrick Johansson provides quickfire drumming, fast as lightning but incredibly precise and nuanced, injecting the right oomph to the music.

The album flows away pleasantly, albeit slightly anonymously due to the lack of songs that can be real showstoppers. “Souldance” and “Samuraj” are those that grabbed my attention the most. The combination of ultra-melodic choruses and cool, classically-inspired riffs is a trick that never ceases to amuse and Stormwind pull it off really well on these two tracks. The ballad “Seven Seas” is another high point of the album. It starts slow with piano and voice, before gaining momentum and growing into a full-band, emotional finale. The other songs are also pleasant, but fail to leave a lasting mark on my musical psyche.

There is one aspect of the album, however, that I find really unfortunate, and it is the terribly poor production. The tones and levels of the instruments are a mess on this record. Guitars and keyboards constantly steal space from one another and when they play together it is really hard to figure out what’s being played by either instrument. The vocals are far too back in the mix and the drums and bass are too upfront. The sound is particularly poor when the songs gain momentum and all instruments play to the max, as one can hardly distinguish what is going on. It’s a pity, because I think I would have liked the album much better if it had had a decent production.

Overall, this one is a bit of a hit and miss for me. It leaves me with the bittersweet sense of unrealized potential. Stormwind are incredibly skilled musicians and have good songwriting chops, but on this record they somehow fail to convey these skills into truly outstanding and memorable songs. Add to this a general lack of originality and a terrible production, and the result is an OK album that unfortunately is unlikely to see the inside of my CD player again any time soon.
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